The level of activity at the Soufriere Hills volcano has remained high over the last 24 hours, although there have been no large explosions or major ash clouds. A few rockfalls and minor explosions resulted in small ash clouds.
The seismic records continue to be dominated by frequent, small hybrid earthquakes, which occur at shallow depths within the volcano. These earthquakes have dropped in frequency from 5 per minute to 2-3 per minute at the present time. However, there has been no reduction in the size of these events.
The weather conditions around the volcano have offered variable quality viewing conditions throughout the day. The tall spine whose present height is 2950 ft above sea level is still present but now has a long crack down the western side. Activity has continued in the northern and northeastern areas of the dome as shown by numerous small rockfalls from these areas during the day. Small ash clouds have been associated with these events.
Measurements have continued today with the new Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment. The stations occupied by the GPS team from Puerto Rico have been reoccupied for the first time since late December 1995. The data is still being processed and it is hoped that this would give a better understanding of any deformation associated with the volcano.
EDM measurements have also been made on the Galway's-O'Garra's-Chance's Peak and White's-Long Ground-Castle Peak triangles. Preliminary examination of the results for the eastern triangle show that the changes remain small but are consistent with the general shortening trends seen over the past few months.
The volcano remains in a highly dangerous state, and another explosive eruption could start at any time. The MVO scientists continue to urge people still living in the evacuated zone to leave immediately. Visits to the evacuated zone should be restricted to those that are absolutely essential. The Tar River, Long Ground and Whites areas remain extremely dangerous, and should not be entered under any circumstances.